Nowadays, a lot of people take steps to tighten their budgets during the recent economic turmoil. In general, men found it easier to cut back on clothing than women. Perhaps surprisingly, that trend is now reversing. Last year, the growth in men’s apparel outpaced the growth in women’s clothing by almost 9 percent. A single category of clothing is responsible for much of the growth: accessories. Sales for men’s briefcases, bags, hats, scarves and other accessories have skyrocketed over the last year.
There are theories abound over the reasons for the growing popularity for men’s accessories. A more competitive job market is one explanation. Men are realizing that taking fashion seriously can help the bottom line. Where once a finely tailored suit, a crisp white shirt and a silk tie were enough to establish credibility in the boardroom, men today are looking for accessories that give them an edge over the competition, be it a pocket square, tie bar or a statement watch.
People often credit male-oriented fashion blogs for the increased interest in men’s clothes. Bloggers who approach fashion with the same attention to detail as those who follow traditional male subjects like sports and cars are appealing to new generation of fashion-conscious men. Fashion blogs make it easy for men to keep tabs on upcoming trends, no matter from what area of the globe they originate. The simplest explanation for men’s new interest in accessories is a growing confidence among men to express themselves with fashion. Accessories give men more options to showcase their individuality.
With all the gizmos, gadgets and fashion items that men tote around with them each day, it’s not surprising that sales of men’s bags, holdalls and briefcases have doubled in some men’s clothing and accessory retailers. More surprisingly is the increased sales in men’s bracelets, or “wristwear,” as they’re often marketed to men. Some fashion trend analysts list bracelets as the strongest fashion trend among young men. Fashionable men’s wristwear is distinctly different from bracelets sold to women. Thin strips of leather, rope, braided rubber or metal have the look of hardware rather than jewelry.
Men’s accessories offer ample opportunities to make a personal stamp on traditional fashion. The recent recession has taught men that looking fashionable can be a key component to getting or keeping a job. When it comes to loving and understanding men’s fashion, staying current and relevant just may be the new normal.